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BO JOSEPH | FEEDING THE BEAST

 SEPTEMBER 29–DECEMBER 30, 2020

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BO JOSEPH | FEEDING THE BEAST

In Feeding the Beast, Bo Joseph's third solo exhibition at McClain Gallery, the artist presents two parallel bodies of work: works on paper, which layer imagery from Renaissance scenes of battle, mythology and religion, and a new series of wall reliefs depicting composites of divergent historical, religious, and ritual objects that span the globe.

Red

Beneficiaries of Destruction 2020, oil pastel, acrylic, and tempera on joined paper

Since his youth, Joseph has been captivated by art from around the world, particularly artwork created for ceremonial use. His initial response to these objects was primarily formalistic, with only peripheral knowledge of their broader and essential cultural meaning. As Joseph became aware of how western civilization systematically colonized the cultures of the people whose land they occupied and whose sacred objects they plundered, he began to see himself, and by extension, the viewer, as a beneficiary of the destruction caused by one culture forcing itself on another. These preoccupations result in a friction between Joseph’s formal interest in objects and all that the act of appropriation encompasses. The referential images summon the encyclopedic stance of large western and colonial institutions and begin to tease out the role artists can play in the reconciliation of history’s fraught legacy. Joseph earnestly grapples with his own engagement with sovereign traditions and asks the viewer to question where their own contributions lie.

Beneficiaries Cartoon

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

"The means of war have changed, but the rules have stayed the same....Battle leads to the ideological catharsis that comes with war."

- Bo Joseph

Medieval

Antonio del Pollaiuolo Battle of the Nudes, 1465-1475, engraving

Joseph’s new series melds together appropriated imagery referencing Greek and Roman mythology, Renaissance battle scenes, Christian Biblical subjects, and depicts Roman, Germanic, Inuit, and African objects. Of note is a series of wall reliefs in a new technique developed by the artist. These graphic sculptures achieve their rich patina from casein, a medium made with milk protein with 11th-century origins. The wall reliefs explore visual combinations using a pared-back approach, with themes ranging from Jungian archetypes to a 12th-century Sufi poem, or a theatrical gladiatorial helmet seen against a powerful Ekoi figure. Joseph cites Louise Bourgeois and Joseph Beuys as profound influences not only on form and color choices, but also on the use of recontextualization to extract the charge from found sources. Across the show's works, layered scenes of historical imagery give way to energetic vibrations, framing each work in a crystallized tumult. No longer relegated to the image's perimeter, these vibrations appear throughout the composition, breaking his own rules while maintaining his trademark syncretism.

 

Reunion

Colony Collapse 2019, oil pastel, acrylic, and tempera on joined paper, 55 5/8 x 86 1/8 inches

 

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Joseph’s method of abstraction is not overt; rather, it ebbs and flows with energy, pulsing from one sheet of collaged paper to the next and across his signature concentric strokes. Outlines pile on top of and against one another, the specificity of their shapes falling away into sometimes tight and tense fields, sometimes into broad amalgamations of forms that whisper of novel, looming beings. These stacked silhouettes of positive and negative forms straddle the realms of abstraction and figurative art, examining the complexities of human relationships and asking the viewer to reevaluate their own psychic space.

WORKS IN EXHIBITION

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Bo Joseph  Catching Ghosts: Personae, 2020 casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam 60 1/4 x 35 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches signed, titled and dated 6/30/20 on reverse $18,000

Bo Joseph

Catching Ghosts: Personae, 2020

casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam

60 1/4 x 35 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches

$18,000

Inquire
Bo Joseph  Colony Collapse, 2019  oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper  55 3/4 x 80 5/8 inches  signed, titled and dated 5/6/19 on reverse $25,000

Bo Joseph

Colony Collapse, 2019

oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper

55 3/4 x 86 5/8 inches

$25,000

 

Inquire
Bo Joseph  Catching Ghosts: Shadow Aspects, 2020 casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam 48 x 33 1/8 x 1 1/2 inches signed, titled and dated 7/2/20 on reverse $16,000

Bo Joseph

Catching Ghosts: Shadow Aspects, 2020

casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam

48 x 33 1/8 x 1 1/2 inches

$16,000

Inquire
Bo Joseph  Catching Ghosts: Simorgh, 2020  casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam  60 1/2 x 31 5/8 x 1 1/2 inches  signed, titled and dated 7/30/20 on reverse  $16,000

Bo Joseph

Catching Ghosts: Simorgh, 2020

casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam

60 1/2 x 31 5/8 x 1 1/2 inches

$16,000

Inquire
Bo Joseph  Reunion of the Cult of Absence, 2020  oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper  paper: 55 5/8 x 80 1/8 inches  signed, titled and dated 6/5/2020 on reverse $25,000

Bo Joseph

Reunion of the Cult of Absence, 2020

oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper

55 5/8 x 80 1/8 inches

$25,000

 

Inquire
Bo Joseph  Never Catch a Thief, 2020 oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper paper: 55 3/4 x 80 1/4 inches signed, titled and dated 6/5/2020 on reverse $25,000

Bo Joseph

Never Catch a Thief, 2020

oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper

55 3/4 x 80 1/4 inches

$25,000

 

Inquire
Bo Joseph  Beneficiaries of Destruction, 2020 oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper paper: 55 3/8 x 80 1/4 inches signed, titled and dated on reverse (BoJ-113) $25,000

Bo Joseph

Beneficiaries of Destruction, 2020

oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper

55 3/8 x 80 1/4 inches

$25,000

 

Inquire
Bo Joseph  Catching Ghosts: Anima/Animus, 2020 casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam 60 x 37 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches signed, titled and dated 6/29/20 on reverse $18,000

Bo Joseph

Catching Ghosts: Anima/Animus, 2020

casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam

60 x 37 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches

$18,000

Inquire
Bo Joseph  Feeding the Beast, 2019  oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper  paper: 55 5/8 x 80 5/8 inches  signed, titled and dated 10/8/2019 in reverse $25,000

Bo Joseph

Feeding the Beast, 2019

oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper

55 5/8 x 80 5/8 inches

$25,000

 

Inquire
Bo Joseph  Chasing Ghosts, 2019  oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper  paper: 55 3/4 x 80 3/8 inches  signed, titled and dated 10/7/19 on reverse $25,000

Bo Joseph

Chasing Ghosts, 2019

oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper

55 3/4 x 80 3/8 inches

$25,000

 

Inquire
Bo Joseph  Catching Ghosts: Personae, 2020 casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam 60 1/4 x 35 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches signed, titled and dated 6/30/20 on reverse $18,000

Bo Joseph

Catching Ghosts: Personae, 2020

casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam

60 1/4 x 35 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches

$18,000

Bo Joseph  Colony Collapse, 2019  oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper  55 3/4 x 80 5/8 inches  signed, titled and dated 5/6/19 on reverse $25,000

Bo Joseph

Colony Collapse, 2019

oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper

55 3/4 x 86 5/8 inches

$25,000

 

Bo Joseph  Catching Ghosts: Shadow Aspects, 2020 casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam 48 x 33 1/8 x 1 1/2 inches signed, titled and dated 7/2/20 on reverse $16,000

Bo Joseph

Catching Ghosts: Shadow Aspects, 2020

casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam

48 x 33 1/8 x 1 1/2 inches

$16,000

Bo Joseph  Catching Ghosts: Simorgh, 2020  casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam  60 1/2 x 31 5/8 x 1 1/2 inches  signed, titled and dated 7/30/20 on reverse  $16,000

Bo Joseph

Catching Ghosts: Simorgh, 2020

casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam

60 1/2 x 31 5/8 x 1 1/2 inches

$16,000

Bo Joseph  Reunion of the Cult of Absence, 2020  oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper  paper: 55 5/8 x 80 1/8 inches  signed, titled and dated 6/5/2020 on reverse $25,000

Bo Joseph

Reunion of the Cult of Absence, 2020

oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper

55 5/8 x 80 1/8 inches

$25,000

 

Bo Joseph  Never Catch a Thief, 2020 oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper paper: 55 3/4 x 80 1/4 inches signed, titled and dated 6/5/2020 on reverse $25,000

Bo Joseph

Never Catch a Thief, 2020

oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper

55 3/4 x 80 1/4 inches

$25,000

 

Bo Joseph  Beneficiaries of Destruction, 2020 oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper paper: 55 3/8 x 80 1/4 inches signed, titled and dated on reverse (BoJ-113) $25,000

Bo Joseph

Beneficiaries of Destruction, 2020

oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper

55 3/8 x 80 1/4 inches

$25,000

 

Bo Joseph  Catching Ghosts: Anima/Animus, 2020 casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam 60 x 37 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches signed, titled and dated 6/29/20 on reverse $18,000

Bo Joseph

Catching Ghosts: Anima/Animus, 2020

casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass and foam

60 x 37 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches

$18,000

Bo Joseph  Feeding the Beast, 2019  oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper  paper: 55 5/8 x 80 5/8 inches  signed, titled and dated 10/8/2019 in reverse $25,000

Bo Joseph

Feeding the Beast, 2019

oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper

55 5/8 x 80 5/8 inches

$25,000

 

Bo Joseph  Chasing Ghosts, 2019  oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper  paper: 55 3/4 x 80 3/8 inches  signed, titled and dated 10/7/19 on reverse $25,000

Bo Joseph

Chasing Ghosts, 2019

oil pastel, acrylic and tempera on joined paper

55 3/4 x 80 3/8 inches

$25,000

 

CATCHING GHOSTS

In addition to Joseph’s well-known works on paper, Feeding the Beast includes his newest body of work, Catching Ghosts, a series of wall reliefs depicting composites of religious and ritual objects of tribal African, Roman, Germanic, Islamic, and Inuit sources. The reliefs achieve their rich patina from casein, a medium made from milk protein with 11th-century origins.

Relief

Catching Ghosts: Simorgh 2020, casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass, and foam

The Concourse of the Birds by Habiballah of Sava, c. 1600, Iran

The Concourse of the Birds by Habiballah of Sava, c. 1600; Iran, Isfahan, Islamic; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

CATCHING GHOSTS: SIMORGH

Catching Ghosts: Simorgh is Joseph's reimagined version of the Sigmorgh, a mythical bird-like beast from the 12th-century Persian poem The Conference of the Birds, written by Farid ud-Din Attar. Each bird in attendance of the conference represents some human fault, or rather, the obstacles preventing one’s achievement of true enlightenment. The birds eventually set out to discover the Simorgh. In their quest, many perish. In the end, the thirty birds who finally reach the Simorgh realize they are, in fact, the Simorgh. Joseph’s interpretation of the legendary creature is a triumphal amalgamation of these birds. 

More on The Concourse of the Birds by Habiballah of Sava

Relief

Catching Ghosts: Anima/Animus 2020, casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass, and foam

CATCHING GHOSTS: ANIMA/ANIMUS 

Several of the reliefs are a visual exploration of Jungian archetypes;  according to Jung, the anima/animus represents the "true self" rather than the image we project into the world, serving as the primary source of communication with the collective unconscious. Catching Ghosts: Anima/Animus is a composite of a Roman theatrical helmet and a female Ekoi headdress. The gladiatorial helmet, while masculine in appearance, is submissive in its thespian nature when conjoined to the powerful, feminine Ekoi figure. 

 

Relief

Catching Ghosts: Shadow Aspects 2020, casein and acrylic on resin, fiberglass, and foam

The reliefs are painted with casein which is a milk protein paint which creates a rich patina like quality. This series of works is called Catching Ghosts is a visual exploration of various Jungian archetypes.

INSTALLATION VIEWS

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Slide-Show Thumbnails

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Installation view of Bo Joseph | Feeding the Beast at McClain Gallery, September 2020

Bo Joseph (b. 1969, California) lives and works in New York City. He received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1992 and has received awards and honors such as the Basil H. Alkazzi Award, and fellowships in painting from Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. He has been a visiting artist/lecturer at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth and the Rhode Island School of Design where he also taught drawing. His work can be found in museums nationally and abroad including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri; and Guilin Art Museum, China. Joseph’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Lee Eugean Gallery in Seoul, South Korea (2017), Sears Peyton Gallery in New York (2016) and McClain Gallery in Houston (2012 and 2015). Joseph’s sculptural work was included in McClain Gallery’s 2018 exhibition re:construction and in their booth at the Dallas Art Fair in 2019.

VIEW ARTIST'S PAGE

 

BEHIND THE SCENES

Video-Show

VIDEO: the rinse sequence of Colony Collapse. As part of the process of Joseph's works on paper, the tempera resist is rinsed off of the paper but adheres to the lines previously drawn with oil pastel.

View of Joseph's studio in Brooklyn, New York

View of Joseph's studio in Brooklyn, New York

Early stages of Reunion of the Cult of Absence

Early stages of Reunion of the Cult of Absence

BO JOSEPH IN HIS STUDIO

Bo Joseph in his studio

Early stages of Never Catch a Thief, before the addition of concentric lines in orange oil pastel

Early stages of Never Catch a Thief, before the addition of concentric lines in orange oil pastel.

View of Joseph's studio in Brooklyn, New York

View of Joseph's studio in Brooklyn, New York

View of Joseph's studio in Brooklyn, New York

View of Joseph's studio in Brooklyn, New York

Collage study for Catching Ghosts: Shadow Aspects

Collage study for Catching Ghosts: Shadow Aspects

Collage study for Catching Ghosts: Simorgh

Collage study for Catching Ghosts: Simorgh

Early stages of Catching Ghosts: Anima/Animus: the foam lines are slowly added to the sub-surface, following along the outline of the outer edges and mimicking the works on paper's concentric lines.

Early stages of Catching Ghosts: Anima/Animus: foam "lines" are added to the substrate, edging and defining the hybrid figure, and mimicking the concentric linework of Joseph's works on paper.

VIDEO: Catching Ghosts: Personae before final layers of fiberglass and resin, and then casein and acrylic, are applied to the surface.